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[Susan notes: Juanita packs a lot of information into this letter. We hope this information will bring her support in her candidacy for WAshngton Superintendent of Public Instruction.]

Published in Tacoma News Tribune
04/18/2004

To the editor



It's getting old, hearing and reading the tired lines of the testocrats. Allow me to, once again, enumerate a few flies in the rhetorical slop repeated by Peter Callaghan (column, 4-11):



Apparently, getting a diploma in the Evergreen State is not all that easy, as 34 percent of all students and more than 50 percent of minority students fail to receive one.



Resiliency in youth is limited. Taking the same test over and over does not constitute "multiple measures." Requiring students to fail the WASL twice before allowing alternatives is still cruel. One reason the Legislature approved retakes is the possibility of scoring error. The same company that mistakenly failed thousands of students in Minnesota scores the WASL.



The graduation requirement is far from the WASL's only harm. WASL has been depressing teachers, infuriating parents and labeling children failures for seven years. And, as a bonus, the test itself has drained about $100 million of our precious educational resources.



The standards review committees did not employ a proven process, nor were recognized childhood development scales utilized by the state when developing Essential Academic Learning Requirements and the WASL.



Our case weakened? Hardly. WASL is still out of whack. Just opt out.





Juanita Doyon


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